Iran Frees Crew of MSC Aries

An official slides down a rope during a helicopter raid on MSC Aries ship at sea in this screen grab obtained from a social media video released on April 13, 2024. Video obtained by Reuters/via REUTERS
Iran released the crew of a seized Portuguese-flagged ship connected to Israel, maintaining control of the vessel. The Revolutionary Guard took the MSC Aries container ship with 25 crew members in the Strait of Hormuz, citing retaliation for an Israeli attack. The ship remains in Iran's custody for violating maritime laws.
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Iran has released the crew of the Portuguese-flagged ship MSC Aries, which was seized by the Revolutionary Guard in the Strait of Hormuz. The crew of 25 was set free by Iran, but the vessel remains under Iranian control. The seizure of the ship occurred shortly after Iran vowed retaliation for a suspected Israeli attack on its consulate in Damascus and announced the closure of the important shipping route.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian stated that the ship, which had disabled its radar in Iranian waters, was detained for posing a threat to shipping safety and is now in judicial custody. The release of the crew was described as a humanitarian gesture, allowing them to return to their home countries along with the ship’s captain. The Aries was seized for violating maritime laws, with Iran claiming a link to Israel due to its ownership by a company partly owned by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer.

Recent attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis, who supported the Palestinians during Israel’s conflict with Gaza, are impacting global shipping. The situation highlights the complexities of maritime security in the region and the potential repercussions of political tensions on maritime trade. The ongoing developments surrounding the MSC Aries underscore the delicate balance between international relations and the safety of maritime operations in critical waterways.

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